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mit to the rightful dominion of the Lord of heaven and earth.
Religion, having God for its author, truth for its substance, and happiness for its end, is not a subject to be treated either with aversion or indifference : on the contrary, it demands from its authority, and deserves from its excellence, our prompt submission, our highest esteem, and our cordial love. It is the manifestation to man of Him who is light and love. It is our only guide. to final glory. Our great business in this world is with God, our souls, and eternity; and in that business the Scriptures are our teacher. Let me admonish the youthful reader to search them with an humble and devout spirit: and I would assure him, that he will in due time find Religion to be, if I may use the expression, an angel from above, whose robe is spotless, whose eye is bright in joy, whose countenance beams with benevo, lence and compassion, whose voice is wisdom and mercy, whose spirit is sublime and pure, who points with one hand to the path of righteousness, and with the other to the everlasting mansions of life and blessedness. Let him enthrone her in his heart, and allow her to form his life ; and he will rejoice in time and for evermore : but if he yield to prejudice and the natural heart, and reject her, he will not escape with impunity. If religion received does not save the soul, religion rejected will aggravate its guilt and increase its condemnation.
16 O Lord, raise up (we pray Thee) Thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us"; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, Thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of Thy Son our Lord, to whom with - Thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end." Amen.
O Blessed Lord God, how great is Thy goodness in having given to man the revelation of Thyself and of Thy will in Thy holy word ! How ought I to bless and praise Thee for such an inestimable gift! But I take shame to myself for having cherished in my heart any indifference to it, or disinclination towards it. What a clear and melancholy proof have I here of the working of sin within me-of an evil heart and of a vain mind! When, as now, I seriously think on spi
, ritual things, how can I listen any longer to a thoughtless world, or to my own perverse mind ! All which relates to Thee, great God, must be good and glorious. I ought to employ my various powers, willingly and thankfully, in studying Thy word, in seeking Thy gifts, and in doing Thy commandments. Have mercy upon me, I beseech Thee, and deliver me from every wrong thought and feeling respecting religion. Enlighten and purify my soul, that I may have a sound judgment in all things, and cherish right dispositions towards Thee, Thy word, and Thy ways. Thou knowest my corruption, weakness, and folly; and how ready I have been to attend to the vain doctrines of men, rather than to those of truth. 0 save me henceforth from such perverseness, and let me no longer follow the prejudices to which I have so long yielded. Let me neither form an estimate of religion from the distorted, or at best imperfect exhibitions of it which are made by its professors; nor under the influence of a vitiated spiritual taste : but let me view it as it is delineated in Thy word, and as exemplified by Christ Himself. Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see what is good and lovely and glorious: purify my affections and taste, that I may love it and delight in it: and strengthen all my faculties, that I
may seek it and obtain it. Thus, O Lord, may I be of the number of those who please Thee in will and deed, and be Thine here and for ever, through Jesus Christ our only Saviour. Amen.
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How.charming is divine Philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbed as dull fools suppose, golli
But musical as is Apollo's lute, o
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets, His Where no crude surfeit reigns.”—Milton. I for inngan
.*,* Christianity wears an enchanting form to all, who can penetrate through the mists thrown round it by its false friends and its avowed foes.”_Cecil. 14+ The Gospel is wonderful. It teaches man to acknowledge himself vile, and even abominable, yet requires him at the same time, to aspire to a resemblance of God.”—Pascal.
BEING desirous that you should form right notions of religion, I would caution you against the prejudices which many unreasonably entertain respecting it, and also against those crude and fanciful notions of it which are so pleasing to others. If you allow yourselves to be influenced by the former, you may never give the subject any serious attention: and if you yield to the latter, you may afterwards relinquish it, because it does not fulfil your ungrounded expectations. I cannot, therefore, describe to you a paradise which you will not find this side the grave. The present world is, even to the religious, a world of change, trial, and suffering.
“ You'll find, and trust superior years,
Religion, undoubtedly, will not exempt you from feeling what the world, and what a corrupt nature, are. The garden without a thorn or weed, the path without a sharp stone or a bramble, the sky without a cloud, and the stream that is always clear, form a delightful picture--but where is its prototype ? where is it to be realized ? Many years may not elapse before you become more or less familiar with sighs, solicitude, and anguish. But though religion will not exempt you from troubles, it will enable you to endure them, and to improve them. If you choose the world as your portion, you will have no true joy even in prosperity : but if you choose religion, you will have it even in adversity. The true Christian is far happier amidst his trials and sorrows, than the man of the world is amidst his delights 'and merriment.
I lay this down, then, as a just position-Religion will do all for you in this preliminary state of being that is essential to your true happiness. If I were familiarly conversing with you, in your calm and reflecting moments, you would, ownthat you wished to be good to be happy---not to live in vain to have comfort and support in